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Private Lives and Public Affairs

Onora O’Neill, 18 October 1984

Public and Private in Social Life 
edited by S.I. Benn and G.F. Gaus.
Croom Helm, 412 pp., £19.95, July 1983, 0 7099 0668 4
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Public Man, Private Woman 
by Jean Bethke Elshtain.
Martin Robertson, 376 pp., £22.50, February 1982, 0 85520 470 2
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Women’s Choices: Philosophical Problems facing Feminism 
by Mary Midgley and Judith Hughes.
Weidenfeld, 242 pp., £12.95, September 1983, 0 297 78221 5
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... as well as Women’s Choices: Philosophical Problems facing Feminism by Mary Midgley and Judith Hughes, which appears as one of Weidenfeld and Nicolson’s Social Democrat Books. A common theme of these books is that we aren’t just abstract autonomous beings, but beings who grow to autonomy only if appropriately nurtured by particular ...

Gaelic Gloom

Colm Tóibín: Brian Moore, 10 August 2000

Brian Moore: The Chameleon Novelist 
by Denis Sampson.
Marino, 344 pp., IR£20, October 1998, 1 86023 078 4
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... In the second chapter of Brian Moore’s first novel The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, Miss Hearne gets to know her fellow boarders, especially the landlady’s brother, the returned Yank, Mr Madden. They discuss the difference between men and women in Ireland and America. ‘Guys beating their brains out to keep their wives in mink,’ Mr Madden complains ...

At the V&A

Jenny Turner: Ballgowns, 5 July 2012

... at the V&A exhibition, the layout is that of the digital panopticon. Arty photos – by David Hughes – are projected on the walls all around of the same ugly, theatrical dresses you can see life-size on display, worn by skinny department-store mannequins, with books and lampshades and hedges for faces. The fabrics themselves are digitally panoptic ...

No wonder it ached

Dinah Birch: George Eliot, 13 May 1999

The Journals of George Eliot 
edited by Margaret Harris and Judith Johnston.
Cambridge, 447 pp., £55, February 1999, 0 521 57412 9
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George Eliot: The Last Victorian 
by Kathryn Hughes.
Fourth Estate, 384 pp., £20, November 1998, 1 85702 420 6
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... it), and some in Gordon Haight’s magisterial work as editor and biographer. Margaret Harris and Judith Johnston have now provided a very welcome and complete edition of all the diaries and journals, covering the years between Eliot’s union with Lewes in 1854, when she was 35, and her death in 1880. Only around a quarter of this text has not previously ...

Frock Consciousness

Rosemary Hill: Fashion and frocks, 20 January 2000

The Penguin Book of 20th-Century Fashion Writing 
edited by Judith Watt.
Viking, 360 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 670 88215 1
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Twentieth-Century Fashion 
by Valerie Mendes and Amy de la Haye.
Thames and Hudson, 288 pp., £8.95, November 1999, 0 500 20321 0
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A Century of Fashion 
by François Baudot.
Thames and Hudson, 400 pp., £19.95, November 1999, 0 500 28178 5
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The Hidden Consumer: Masculinities, Fashion and City Life 1860-1914 
by Christopher Breward.
Manchester, 278 pp., £45, September 1999, 0 7190 4799 4
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Black in Fashion 
by Valerie Mendes.
Victoria & Albert Museum, 144 pp., £35, October 1999, 1 85177 278 2
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... they speak even when we are silent. ‘Dressed in a tramp’s clothes,’ George Orwell, quoted by Judith Watt, observed, ‘it is very difficult ... not to feel that you are genuinely degraded.’ The hope that a change of clothes will actually redress our situation is not therefore entirely vain, in either sense of the word. In the 20th century, of which ...

On the imagining of conspiracy

Christopher Hitchens, 7 November 1991

Harlot’s Ghost 
by Norman Mailer.
Joseph, 1122 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 7181 2934 2
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A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs 
by Theodore Draper.
Hill and Wang, 690 pp., $27.95, June 1991, 0 8090 9613 7
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... dollar bills into a shredder in order to disguise their provenance in the empire of – Howard Hughes? Marilyn Monroe fucked both Kennedy brothers before taking her own life, if she did indeed take it. Frank Sinatra raised money for the Reagans and acted as at least a confidante to the First Lady. Norman Podhoretz’s son-in-law Elliott Abrams, while ...

His Own Prophet

Michael Hofmann: Read Robert Lowell!, 11 September 2003

Collected Poems 
by Robert Lowell, edited by Frank Bidart and David Gewanter.
Faber, 1186 pp., £40, July 2003, 0 571 16340 8
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... a custard-pie violence (‘smack! her sword divorces his codshead from the codpiece’ from ‘Judith’) and a strangely, disarmingly boyish thrall to heroism. You get vivid but cartoonish tropes like the ambush under the bridge (‘Down there, below a bridge, his back on the arch,/Hannibal listens, thoughtful, glorying,/to the dead tramp of the advancing ...

Reasons for Liking Tolkien

Jenny Turner: The Hobbit Habit, 15 November 2001

... the book has had its admirers – my battered 1970s paperback carries endorsements from Richard Hughes, Naomi Mitchison and C.S. Lewis, and Auden was an early fan. (Auden was a patron saint of lost causes. He was also the only major writer to stand up for Laura Riding.) But mostly, the sort of people who get their opinions published have lashed it with ...

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